Two specific issues of concern and action in the 1980’s were the proposal to build a motel at the lagoon and the question of back lots. The owner of the Lagoon, a popular restaurant on Deer Lake wanted to build a $2 million, 44-unit motel next to his restaurant (Standard-Press, June 19, 1980). He requested and was granted a special exemption to the Shoreline Protection ordinance by the Polk County Board of Adjustments (Polk County Ledger, May 1, 1980). The DLIA opposed the building of a motel and filed a lawsuit asking for a restraining order so that the court could review the BOA’s decision. The Association believed that the procedural errors had been made at the public hearing where Lagoon owner, Frank Skidmore, presented his application. The 150 opponents of the motel present at the hearing were denied the opportunity to speak. They and other DLIA members believed that BOA violated the Polk County Shoreline Protection ordinance by not properly considering the effects of a motel on the environment, pollution being a primary concern. However, on June 17, Polk County Circuit Court judge Robert Weisel sustained the BOA’s decision and lifted the restraining order. (Polk County Ledger, July 3, 1980).
Deer Lake Improvement Association members objected to Judge Weisel’s decision and wanted to take further legal action. Association members contributed money to make a further appeal possible. Another restraining order was issued to give the Judge time to reconsider. However, he denied the request to reconsider and lifted the restraining order. The case then went to the District Three Court of Appeals who upheld Judge Weisel’s decision and allowed the special exemption for the building of the motel. So the DLIA lost their court battles but “…they may have won the war. Their appeals forced the project to be postponed into an era of the high interest rates. So that Frank Skidmore, owner of the proposed motel will not construct it at least until interest rates mellow” (Polk County Ledger, September 24, 1981). The motel was never built and to the regret of Deer Lake residents the restaurant burned down.